This past weekend, moviegoers in the U.S. may have enjoyed one of the most highly anticipated comic book movies of the year, Deadpool, but several other countries around the world were not amused by the Merc with a Mouth. From Uzbekistan to India, the list of countries that have censored or even outright banned the film continues to grow.
Citing ethical concerns before the film even made its debut, Deadpool was banned from all theaters in Uzbekistan. Due to the violent and sexual nature of the film’s content “we won’t screen Deadpool as it has an age restriction and is not in line with ethical norms in our society,” said a spokesperson for the movie theater MegaCinema. According to the Hollywood Reporter, this is the second instance in the past 12 months that a film has been banned in the predominantly Muslim country due to violence and sexual content — the first being 50 Shades of Grey.
Although the film did makes its way into India, fans didn’t get to enjoy the same crass and crude comedy that graced U.S. screens. Instead, they were given a version edited by the Indian Censor Board, which cut profanity, deleted nude love scenes, and outright replaced any moments in the film they deemed too violent. Although we can’t be sure what exactly remained of the film after the censors got their hands on it, nonetheless the Indian public was not too happy with the Censor Board’s “editorial decisions,” and many shared their displeasure on social media sites. “As usual, Indian Censor Board has made the 7 cuts in the film,” reported the BusinessofCinema News Network, adding:
If you don’t hear cuss words from Deadpool, then what is the point of it. The censorboard, every now and then, makes headlines for censoring stuff that is very important in the film. What is surprising is the F-bombs and s** scenes are given green light but cuss words are muted. Does this even make sense?
Malaysia has also had to contend with calls to censor the film, but surprisingly not from the country’s government, which has a reputation for the strict regulation of free speech, but from an everyday citizen. After seeing the film — which was given an 18 and above rating by the Film Censorship Board — the individual simply known as Shan from Klang wrote a letter to the news site The Star asking why the Malaysian censors hadn’t outright banned the film from the country. “Is the Malaysian Censor Board doing its job? Can’t the ‘F’ word be muted? Otherwise ban the movie immediately,” wrote Shan.
Uzbekustan, India, and Malaysia aren’t the only countries that have had a difficult time with the film. Last month it was officially banned from China, when the governmental agency the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFR) determined that because the film could not easily be censored, it could not be shown.
Although Deadpool took in over $135 million domestically during its opening weekend and broke box office records for R-rated films in the United States, the movie has also served as a reminder about the fragile state of free press and entertainment in other countries around the world.
Contributing Editor Caitlin McCabe is an independent comics scholar who loves a good pre-code horror comic and the opportunity to spread her knowledge of the industry to those looking for a great story!